I feel like my adult life has been in four acts. The young married mom. The young single mom. The overwhelmed mom with five very young babies. And today. I suspect that other acts will come, too.
Each season brought new changes and made relationships hard to maintain. When I was changing my first kiddo’s diapers, my friends were establishing in careers and hoping to meet the one. When I was meeting with a divorce attorney and interviewing nannies and trying to keep the lights on, they were wondering if it was time to try for a baby. When they were welcoming their first bundle into the impeccably designed nursery we all lovingly craft for our first kiddos, I was overweight, anxiety ridden, ferrying kids from activity to activity, exhausted.
It felt like our bonds were there, but our lives kept missing each other. I was so very lonely.
I am the product of a hard environment. I’ve had a lot of hurt spoken to me and over me and about me, and it sinks deep into the heart of a child and stays with them for life. It never occurred to me that the village of women that I wanted to be a part of wasn’t exclusive. I felt that every other woman had been gifted a magic entrance, and I was somehow unworthy and forgotten. I shrunk more and more into myself and felt like I wore on the outside all of those things that I believed about myself on the inside. No one would want to let me in, because it was so imprinted on me that I didn’t deserve to be granted entrance.
I remember in my young married mom act a new neighbor moving in next door. I was so inexperienced at friendships that I misread small talk and thought we should be friends. I knocked on her door one day and asked if she wanted to go to dinner or to get a drinks sometimes and she said “no… no, I don’t.” and shut the door. I just stopped trying… I obviously was completely unworthy. I built a wall around myself in an effort to not be left standing on the porch with a door closed in my face, real and proverbial.
These are all lies, guys. And I know so many women carrying around these same lies about themselves. But I also think these lies make us defensive, and we can become locked in a battle with ourselves that spills over to our friendships. We can have a friend that does something really, really well and that makes us feel like we aren’t enough so we start picking that friend apart in our mind because they are not so great, amiright? I’ve been both the picker apart-er and the picked apart,and neither are fun. One is hurtful and one is your hurt taking over. But slowly my heart is beginning to see that we aren’t supposed to be good at it all… we are supposed to surround ourselves with women that fill in our gaps so that in times of need we can all lean in, press together and move mountains.
I started to understand that there isn’t a village I have to be granted access to join. I had to be the village. We all do. We have to give to receive.
When I started to pour my heart out instead of protecting it, my village found me. It is mind boggling to me that of these years later, I have a million amazing, world changing, mountain moving, soul-feeding women helping bring our son home. The more I have opened my heart, the more I have realized the holes in my character… like a lot… like swiss cheese. But the village presses in and together we are a solid and unstoppable force. Sometimes I am leading the charge for one of our own. Sometimes I am sitting down and being carried by the current, but there is always this movement and motion of action and change.
I feel a movement building. When I speak a fear/challenge, the village says “We got dis.” We. And when another sister speaks one, I move my feet. We got dis. Women have always run the world (Right, Beyonce?) but the difference is that we are starting to know that we do.
We are the village.
SO… speaking of the village. My friend, Kristin, is also adopting a little man and is selling these adorable tees with our new motto on them. I just picked mine up because I love tees, the message and her family! Here is the link if you want to grab one, too! https://www.bonfire.com/his-name-is-ethan-adoption-swag/